Propaganda is said to have its roots in ancient Greece were it was deemed necessary as it was normal to” alter values and beliefs to shape and mould the opinions of men.” Despite early readings showing the concept as a religious one, its function in the political arena has exceeded its expectations. These early readings show that “Pope Gregory XV established an institution for spreading the faith and addressing a series of church affairs, which is namely the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Further, a College of Propaganda was set up under Pope Urban VIII to train priests. In non-democratic countries, propaganda continues to flourish as a means for indoctrinating citizens…”
Some media houses in the democratic South Africa are beginning to show their true colors, they are beginning to blatantly show political preferences. With just three top South African news channels, the time to strongly diversify perspectives through other forms of communication and information dissemination is now. If we fail to loudly express our diversity of political and other perspectives, we will wake up too late in the belly of a well propagated utopia. When blatant lies and misinformation is being encouraged it is imperative to question the role of the political media.
Some media researchers, have, in history studied the influence of media houses because of the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s, which was also around the time radio was introduced. Their research shows that “People saw that the Nazis and fascists in Europe were using radio a lot for propaganda. This raised fears from onlooking nations that their own citizens could be brainwashed with propaganda. “The media has great power in setting cultural realities and in shaping political discourse, it is therefore essential that news media, along with other institutions, are challenged to be fair and accurate. In order to deal with bias it is important to document it.
In an ideal world the role of the media is to provide information and record events. The media makes it easier and efficient for individuals to inform and educate themselves. Some Media houses are misrepresenting the facts, suppressing facts or just lying. South African media houses have chosen to take political sides explicitly. Some have blatantly attacked political opponents of the statuesque, they have encountered unlawful punishment for those who are not liked simply for that reason and they have chosen to become a mouthpiece of an artificial political climate.
Blatant media bias is however not shocking especially in a developing country with great implicit political interests. The political economy teaches us to look beyond the headlines and set ups of political narratives especially those that appear dominant. News framing in this country is close to becoming as blatant as that of some Russian and American propagandist channels. As this “democracy matures“ so is the scope of media interest in politics.
This is one of those “go figure “ warnings in the mist of a brewing disaster. These “too-academic” sounding concepts are just simple realities. When you look at the facts and what is immediately presented then you begin to see the real players in shaping untrue reflections of society.